Did 0.94 Break Handbrake?

Handbrake, a nifty video ripping program that has always been amazing, just released a new build- 0.94. This new version has all kinds of great new features, and claims faster encodes. You can even preview your rips before you take the time to rip them.

Sounds like a lot of great improvements, and I was very happy to see them. But then I read this:

Constant quality encoding
No more looking for the perfect bitrate for a source–HandBrake is migrating to quality-based encoding. This means that instead of telling encoders to use a specific size and vary quality to meet it, we tell the encoder to vary size to meet a given quality level. Overall quality improves, since bits are spent only when they are needed, and are saved when they are not. While this means output size is somewhat unpredictable, the results in picture quality speak for themselves.

Color me skeptical, because I had found settings that delivered great results using the variable bit rate target of 2000. I have never had great results from the constant quality settings. I understand what they are trying to do, but my results didn’t lead me in this direction.

I think it’s a bit wrong headed. If I know that my machine can only do a certain bit rate, I can set the target there, and know that it will always be able to play on the device. But with constant quality, if I set it too high it may produce a bit rate that won’t play smoothly. But I am not a programmer, and I am just thankful this program is being developed.

So, being a dutiful follower, I upgraded to version 0.94, and tried my old settings. The result was ugly, chunky, compression artifacts in the video. I then switched to the new constant quality settings (using the base Apple TV settings as a starting point- turned off animorphic resolution, large file size, and turned on deinterlace), and that got rid of the chunks, but the compression artifacts at 60% (the default) cannot be ignored when watching on my Apple TV. So I tried 100%, which resulted in a 17GB file size. Then I tried 80%, which iTunes could not open for some reason, but resulted in a 5.5GB files, more than double my normal 0.93 files.

Since then I have re installed build 0.93 and gone back to the old encode settings that worked so well for me. I have to re rip about 7 movies I tried using the new version on. I am so close to being done ripping my library, I hate to be slowed down.

Does anyone have setting that work for the new 0.94 build of handbrake? Ones that deliver great looking video (as in DVD quality look) on an Apple TV but are still playable on an iPhone? (I used to use a VBR or 2000 with an iPod atom, deinterlaced, with forced subtitles on. No animorphic resolution. I limited the width to 720, which was required for use on the iPhone.) Has anyone gotten this to work well for this application? I feel like this version has taken a step back in quality of end product.

Update: Some usable settings for 0.94.


8 thoughts on “Did 0.94 Break Handbrake?

  1. Jon Rubin

    Sounds to me like you haven’t updated your settings to account for a year’s worth of changes in x264’s default parameters, like weighted p-frames, which are on by default and break the AppleTV’s spec-violating H.264 decoder.

    If you actually use our built-in AppleTV preset that we tested and support, you will find that nothing is broken.

  2. Jon-

    I did try to use the included new Apple TV settings (Have now changed the post to reflect that, sorry). I made 3 changes: Turned off animorphic resolutions so the file would still play on my iPhone and turned on de-interlacing. (“slow” I think), and turned off “large file size”. Left it at default 60% constant quality, and got a file with compression artifacts I couldn’t live with. 0.93 files looked better. Increasing the % of quality made large files. 0.93 results in 1.5-2.5 GB files that look great on my TV or iPhone.

    I’m looking for 0.94 settings that allow me to play DVD quality video on both my Apple TV and iPods/iPhones. Any suggestions? (I’ve searched the handbrake forums and find the basic “try it and see” posts. Well, I did that for the previous versions, and found the perfect settings for me, which now don’t work in 0.94.) I will play with it more over the holiday break, but for now I am still using 0.93.

  3. Nick G

    Same here i had great settings in Handbrake 0.93 that reduced the DVD file size anywhere from 1/2 to 1/3. Couldn’t even tell the difference in quality! I use my files in MythTV and now with the last 4 encodes i’m noticing that same horrible blocky artifacting under those same settings in 0.94.

    1. Try using the Apple TV preset as the base setting. That turns off something in the h.264 codec that causes the Apple TV (maybe your device as well?) to play it wrong. Then adjust from there. I am in the process right now of testing some files. If I find a setting that works, I will post it.

  4. Pingback: Searching for the Perfect Handbrake 0.94 Settings « Scott Link Blog

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